Hot Tech News for November 2013

In an effort to help our clients stay “In the know” about the latest news in tech and IT, we at North Star, Inc., your Denver IT support specialists, will offer the latest trends and information we find that we believe has value; saving you the time it takes to search it out yourself. That’s OK, no applause needed…

New Microsoft Tablet Hits Market to Mixed Reviews – Again

Despite being shipped with the latest and greatest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 8.1, the latest version of tablet computing from the software giant continues to receive mixed reviews from users. Just last month Microsoft began to deliver a revamped version of their tablets, offering four new versions: the Surface 2, which replaces the RT, and the Surface Pro 2, with progressive Ram and storage sizes available. The new tablets range in price from $449 for the new baseline model, to an astounding $1799 for the 512 GB/8 GB RAM model at the top of the line.

While the overwhelming majority of complaints seems to concern the lack of apps for the new product, it must be said – this IS a new product, and apps will soon follow. For a range of product reviews of the new Surface 2 from Microsoft, from a variety of sources and not all of them negative by any means, go here.

New Surface Tablet also Receives New Add-ons

Although the folks from Redmond stubbornly refused to comment about the possible variety of peripherals for their new line of tablet computers, as well as upcoming availability, during their introduction of the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 last month, the rumors were flying fast and furiously even then.

surfacedockNow, Microsoft has somewhat grudgingly admitted that a new docking station is available on a limited basis at about $200, while their new charging cover will be ready for delivery early next year (though you can pre-order now). The new Surface docking station includes a display port, audio input and output jack, an Ethernet port, as well as a high-speed USB 3.0 and three USB 2.0 ports. Read more at

Say what?

Have you heard the latest in geek speak? The newest creation in descriptive phraseology from the techies around us is the word “phablet.” Yeah, we were feeling pretty much out-of-the-loop when we first heard some tech-weenies giggling over the word too. To help you understand the language, we offer this bit of insight from everyone’s favorite online encyclopedia…

“Phablet is a smartphone form factor describing devices with a screen between 5 to 6.9 inches (130 to 180 mm) in size, designed to combine or straddle the functionalities of a smartphone and tablet, eliminating the need for two devices.” ~ Wikipedia


The latest and greatest entry into this new marketplace is from Nokia, which are offering two versions of their new smartphone/tablet integration, the Lumia 1320 and 1520, both of which come with eye-popping 6 inch hi-def displays. That’s right, we said 6 INCH displays in a Smartphone. With prices ranging from a modest $339 for the 1320 with a 5-megapixel camera, to $749 (GULP!) for the 1520 with what they refer to as a 20-megapixel “Pure View” camera, you can now carry Windows Phone with you in an easy-to-read Smartphone, as long as your provider is AT&T, and if your pockets are large enough! You can find out more at and/or

Want to make your Smartphone a Swell Device?

The hottest news in smartphones these days, besides the new devices we can’t seem to live without of course, is the apps that are available. One of the hardest hitters recently is “Swell Radio,” an iPhone and Android app that allows you listen to your favorite talk radio and news radio shows no matter where you may be travelling. The parent company,, claims to have built partnerships with such notable talk channels as NPR, American Public Media, and ABC News, with podcasts from the BBC, CBC, Comedy Central, TED Talks, and others. They also claim that, as you use the app, it will begin to understand your tastes and interests, helping you to “personalize your stream as you listen.” offers more here.

The network experts at North Star are here to help you with all of your Denver IT support needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, or any other IT issues you may have.

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